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Should Teddy Bridgewater Play Sunday?

There are good reasons to play him...and to not play him.

NFL: Preseason-San Diego Chargers at Minnesota Vikings Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

if you believe in rumors, here’s one for you:

The Vikings are going to activate Teddy Bridgewater prior to Sunday’s game against Cleveland, and he’s either going to start, or he’s going to get some game action in.

Mike Zimmer didn’t really do anything to refute that theory during his weekly Monday press conference, either:

Q: Do any of the sites interest you, or strictly 100% football?

A: Football. There was a report too that said we didn’t want to play Teddy [Bridgewater] in London because of slippery field. That’s the first I’ve ever heard of it. So that report is false.

Oh. Well then.

I mean, he was being asked about tourist sites in London, and neither Bridgewater’s status or the field conditions were brought up by the reporters at any point during the press conference, much less that line of questioning. So yeah, let’s throw that out there, why don’t you?

Hey, I totally get that the NFL is secrecy and gamesmanship of the highest order. This could have been a throwaway line to make sure the Browns staff would have to put in extra hours preparing for the possibility of Teddy Bridgewater playing, with no intention of even activating him, much less playing him.

Personally, that’s what I think it was. Just for the record, I don’t believe Teddy will be activated this weekend, and I fully believe Case Keenum will start, with Kyle Sloter backing up, like it has been for the last few weeks.

BUT...let’s walk through the pros and cons of the theory the Vikings are activating and either starting or playing Bridgewater. Because whether it’s this weekend, or one of the first couple games after the bye, it’s going to happen. Does anyone believe at the end of the 21 day window to either activate or IR Teddy after he came off the PUP list, that the Vikings are going to put him on season ending IR?

Folks that don’t think he should play this weekend cite the field at Twickenham Stadium as a concern. The theory is that it’s not the greatest of surfaces, and it could lead to another injury. No one wants to see him re-injured...but the Vikings need to know if the knee is going to hold up. Let him sit on the bench for this week and the bye week, and then activate him prior to the Washington Redskins game. It’s sound reasoning, and one that makes a lot of sense.

However, the NFL is a business, and the Vikings need answers, not questions at the quarterback position, this year and down the road. Teddy’s knee is either going to hold up or it isn’t. And if the Vikings think that Bridgewater is their long term answer, he’s going to play on both artificial and grass surfaces. If the medical staff says his knee is good to go, and the coaches are comfortable with where he is in the offense and understanding the gameplan, then play him.

Both the Vikings and Bridgewater need to find out sooner rather than later if the knee can withstand live action game conditions, and whether it can take a hit. Dalvin Cook tore his ACL at home, Sam Bradford re-injured his knee at home, Stefon Diggs injured his groin at Chicago. Injuries happen, regardless of surface or venue, so the ‘slippery field’ conditions really don’t hold water for me. And in some ways, playing him this week makes sense because they can have the bye week to evaluate his knee and see how it responds. After such a major injury, that’s not a bad idea, either.

Another reason for not playing is Case Keenum. He’s playing well, for the most part, and that play has gotten the Vikings to a 5-2 record and first place in the NFC North. Hall of Fame QB and NFL Network personality Kurt Warner thinks that the Vikings should stick with Keenum even when Teddy is activated. It’s a solid argument; Keenum has done nothing to warrant going to the bench, and the team is winning. The team has rallied behind Keenum, and continuity at quarterback is important.

But Keenum isn’t the long term answer at QB for the Vikings, or shouldn’t be, if either Bridgewater or Sam Bradford can get healthy. Keenum was brought in to be a backup, and is on a one year deal. He knew, coming in, that he was only going to play in case the starter got hurt. And barring a Warner-like 2000 season, the chances of him remaining the starter were not very high.

Let’s break down Keenum’s numbers, by game:

Case Keenum game by game breakdown

There have been two games where I feel his play was the difference between winning and losing—the Buccaneers game, and his relief effort against the Bears on Monday Night Football. But Keenum is a backup, and for the most part, he’s played like a backup. He’s not going to do anything to lose you a game, but I don’t think he’s the guy that can consistently go out and win a game for you, late in the fourth quarter, needing a field goal or TD to win.

And I don’t mean that to be disrespectful towards Keenum. Without him, the Vikings aren’t 5-2 this year, but he’s only thrown for two TD’s since the Buccaneers game, and has had 2 interceptions. In that four game span, he’s only averaging 196 yards passing a game, and his play has dropped two games in a row.

Would I love to see Case Keenum come back to the Vikings next year as the number two guy again? Yes, I sure would. He’s turned out to be one of the best free agent signings GM Rick Spielman has made, and I don’t know that there’s a better backup QB in the NFL.

But...he’s a backup. A healthy Sam Bradford, and a healthy Teddy Bridgewater are better than Keenum, and should play if they are able to. All things being equal, if both Bradford and Teddy were 100%, I would want the Vikings to start Bradford, because he’s been the starter, and has played really well. But as of this writing, that doesn’t seem like a realistic scenario. From our good friend Arif Hasan just a short time ago, covering the Vikings in London:

So, that leaves Bradford still on the mend, and Bridgewater ready to go, or on the verge of it.

So, what would YOU do?


Should Teddy Bridgewater start or play against the Cleveland Browns this Sunday?

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